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Guthrie Govan’s fusion trio The Aristocrats team up with Primuz Chamber Orchestra for experimental remix album

Guthrie Govan
(Image credit: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images)

The Aristocrats – the revered rock fusion power trio headed up by electric guitar wizard Guthrie Govan – have announced they will be teaming up with Poland’s Primuz Chamber Orchestra for a new album, which arrives June 3.

Appropriately titled The Aristocrats with Primuz Chamber Orchestra, the nine-track effort will be the trio’s first studio LP since 2019’s You Know What…?, and aims to deliver souped-up reinventions of songs from the band’s existing repertoire.

It promises to be one of, if not the most left-field addition to The Aristocrats' discography yet, and one that sees the group – which comprises Govan, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann – double down on their boundary-bending tendencies.

To usher in the news, the trio has dropped the effort’s spellbinding, cinematic lead single, The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde – a revamped rendition of the track of the same name from You Know What…?

Like the original, it’s dizzying lead lines and energetic soloing aplenty, though Govan finds his blinding fretboard explorations propped up by lashings of operatic strings, pizzicato-heavy passages and ominous violin thuds that amalgamate to form a symphonic wall of sound.

It’s certainly The Ballad like you’ve never heard it before, though at its core it's driven by Govan’s guitar work – a notion that’s perhaps most strongly evidenced by his extended guitar solo section at the 5:30 mark.

According to the band, the project was first conceived when they happened upon a video of the Primuz Chamber Orchestra performing one of their songs on YouTube, which had been arranged by composer Wojtek Lemański.

They recalled, “Their flawless execution of a highly challenging arrangement, which was startlingly inventive and yet remained entirely faithful to the spirit of the original composition, inspired us to reach out and propose a collaboration.”

As such, the partnership began, and the album developed over the course of 2021. With the help of engineer Forrester Savell, Lemański worked to transform and reinvent nine Aristocrat tracks.

The band added, “This approach enabled Wojtek to create orchestrations which treated many of the spontaneous, improvised elements from our original ‘band in a room’ takes as if they had been part of the actual compositions.

“We’re truly proud of the way this project turned out,” they continued, “and we’re profoundly grateful that serendipity somehow brought us all together for this collaboration.”

As well as The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, the album will feature fresh takes on Stupid 7 from 2015’s Tres Caballeros, Culture Clash from the 2013 album of the same name and Last Orders from 2019’s You Know What…?

The full tracklist can be found below.

  1. Culture Clash
  2. Stupid 7
  3. The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde
  4. Dance Of The Aristocrats
  5. Through The Flower
  6. All Said And Done
  7. Jack’s Back
  8. Ohhhh Noooo
  9. Last Orders

Accompanying the news is the announcement that The Aristocrats will be embarking on their first tour in two years shortly before the release of the album. Titled the Defrost tour, the 10-week, 50-date stint around North America will commence on July 1 in San Pedro, and conclude on September 9 in San Francisco.

For more, head over to The Aristocrat’s website (opens in new tab).

The Aristocrats Primuz Chamber Orchestra album cover

(Image credit: Press)

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Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.